John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to run the CIA, went to Capitol Hill today and defended the US drone strategy he helped engineer as Obama's top counterterror adviser. The drone strikes are necessary, he testified, because the US remains "at war" with al-Qaeda and other terrorists bent on attacking the US, reports AP. They're also legal and carefully monitored, he added. Some highlights:
- Protesters cleared: Code Pink protesters repeatedly interrupted Brennan early, prompting Dianne Feinstein to order the room cleared, reports Politico. Sample slogans and signs: “Brennan = war criminal,” "Mrs. Feinstein, are your children more important than the children of Pakistan and Yemen?" "Don't drone me, bro," and "Assassination is against the Constitution."
- Kill or capture? When Saxby Chambliss suggested Brennan thought it was better to kill a terrorist with a drone rather than capture him, Brennan responded, “I never believe it’s better to kill a terrorist than to detain him," reports the Washington Post.
- Waterboarding: Brennan, who served in the CIA under George W. Bush, said he raised "personal objections" to waterboarding but didn't have the authority to stop it, reports USA Today. "Waterboarding is reprehensible and should not be used," he said. Asked whether such interrogation techniques helped lead to Osama bin Laden, he said, "I do not know what the truth is."